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19 Practical Travel Tips for Flying Internationally: A Guide

tips for flying internationally
(Last Updated On: August 1, 2023)

We need to fly internationally for many reasons. Tips for flying internationally can help to find out some handy advice. In this article, I am going to talk about tips for flying internationally. Embarking on your first flight is an electrifying journey, a whirlwind of emotions intertwining with excitement and a tinge of nervous anticipation. Stepping foot into the airport, you’re immediately engulfed in a wondrous spectacle of humanity, a grand theater of travelers venturing towards far-flung destinations. The bustling crowds, like a symphony of life, weave through the array of departure gates, and the melodic hum of airplanes taxiing on the runway adds a symphony of adventure to the air.

Navigating through security, you might sense a surge of nerves as you encounter the intricate dance of airport protocols. Yet, fear not, for the airport staff is your guiding constellation, ensuring each step is seamless, like the stars aligning to bless your journey. As you board the aircraft and settle into your seat, anticipation swells within, and your heart flutters at the enchanting idea of soaring through the celestial tapestry of the skies.

In preparation for takeoff, the engines roar to life, igniting a flicker of thrill as the plane accelerates down the runway, like a mighty stallion galloping towards the heavens. The moment of liftoff arrives, an awe-inspiring spectacle, as the earth surrenders beneath you, and you ascend into the boundless cerulean embrace above. Gazing through the window, you are spellbound by the kaleidoscopic panorama below, where clouds waltz-like wispy cotton candy, and city lights gleam like twinkling stars in the night.

Practical Tips for Flying Internationally

Mid-flight, you might encounter the gentle undulations of turbulence, a gentle turbulence that dances with the wind. The first flutter of unease might surface, but the pilot’s reassuring voice over the intercom dissipates any worry, like a soothing lullaby to calm your soaring spirit.

As your flight nears its destination, an intoxicating sense of anticipation fills the cabin, like the crescendo of a symphony reaching its climax. The thrill of stepping foot into a new city or country awaits, beckoning you to unravel the wonders that lie ahead, like a treasure trove of dreams waiting to be unveiled. Find below a list of 19 useful tips for flying internationally and traveling successfully:

1. Ensure the validity of your passport and visa

Before embarking on your journey to your destination, ensure the validity of your passport and visa, as most countries necessitate Indian travelers to possess a visa. Although some smaller African and island nations in the Caribbean and Pacific now offer visas on arrival, it is wise to double-check the requirements beforehand. To safeguard against unfortunate scenarios, make photocopies or take pictures of essential travel documents on your smartphone. While you might not need them 99.99% of the time, it proves to be a godsend in those desperate moments when you find yourself praying for their presence.

2. Carry a consent letter

If you are a single parent traveling to the USA with young kids without your spouse, it is prudent to carry a consent letter from your spouse as it is often, if not always, required. Additionally, if you’re carrying medicines, a doctor’s prescription may be necessary in certain countries, like New Zealand.

3. Take into account the temperatures

Take into account the temperatures at your destination and ensure you carry appropriate layered warm clothing to keep you comfortable. Modern technology makes it incredibly easy to check weather forecasts, saving you the hassle of relying solely on SMS or common sense as in earlier times.

4. Dressing the Part: Adhering to Local Customs

To avoid conspicuously standing out, embark on a journey of research and respect for the local dressing norms. What might be deemed acceptable summer attire in the United States could very well be perceived as overly revealing or culturally inappropriate in other lands.

Both men and women should endeavor to blend seamlessly with the local fashion sensibilities. By assimilating into the new environment with ease, you render yourself less vulnerable to the prying eyes of pickpockets and other potential threats.

While clothing preferences vary from person to person, when flying internationally, I personally opt for a navy blue jacket, loose khaki pants, and a full-sleeve shirt. This attire not only makes me look halfway decent but also serves as a practical way to carry my travel documents, pen, forex cash, mobile phone, and sleep kit containing earplugs and eye covers. Muscle memory helps me instinctively know where each item belongs, ensuring easy accessibility.

5. Keep your essential documents

Keep your essential documents, medicines (if needed), cash, mobile phone, and pen on your person at all times. With the advent of smartphones, carrying a laptop has become unnecessary baggage, lightening your load and streamlining security procedures.

5. Embrace the Unknown

The prospect of embarking on a global journey can be daunting, with fear acting as a powerful deterrent. However, remember that countless travelers have tread this path before you. You won’t be venturing into uncharted territories or discovering new continents; a well-established travel route awaits you, accompanied by fellow adventurers who can lend a helping hand along the way. Millions of people successfully navigate the world every year, and you are just as capable of doing so.

Making the decision to depart on this grand adventure is a testament to your competence and courage. Summoning the guts to take that first step is often the most challenging aspect. Don’t be disheartened by inevitable mistakes along the way, as everyone encounters them during their journey, including me. Embrace these blunders as part of the exhilarating adventure that lies ahead.

You’ll find a plethora of compassionate souls eager to offer their assistance. The kindness and support of people you encounter will astound you. As you traverse the globe, forming bonds and connections, you’ll emerge stronger and enriched by collective experiences.

6. Prioritize Travel Insurance

While it may seem like an obvious piece of advice, many travelers become preoccupied with their plans and overlook the significance of travel insurance. Obtaining travel insurance is essential, as it safeguards you against lost luggage, delayed flights, and unforeseen circumstances. Investing in travel insurance not only saves you money in the long run but also grants you peace of mind throughout your journey.

7. Embrace the Art of Slowness

Novice long-term travelers often learn this lesson the hard way (myself included). The temptation to cram numerous locations and activities into your trip can be overwhelming, especially if you have a limited timeframe. However, rushing from one city to another every other day will eventually take its toll, leaving you fatigued and stressed. Instead of reflecting on a blur of activities, opt for a more deliberate and mindful approach to travel.

Quality, not quantity, should be your guiding principle during your expedition. Resist the urge to impress others with an exhaustive list of destinations covered. Instead, slow down and immerse yourself in the essence of each place you visit. Savor the moments, gain deeper insights, and create lasting memories of your experiences.

8. Arm Yourself with Safety Apps

As solo travel gains popularity, you may find yourself navigating unfamiliar cities alone at some point. In such instances, safety apps can be invaluable tools for staying connected and secure. Consider these must-have apps:

– Uber: Though typically associated with local bar-hopping scenes, Uber can be an excellent mode of transportation in unfamiliar territories where public transit might seem intimidating.

– bSafe: This app proves indispensable for solo travelers, requiring your friends or family members to install it as well. It enables them to track your location, follow you on your journey, and send an SOS signal in case of distress, even if they cannot assist you directly.

– Drunk Mode: While its name suggests its primary use, this app can come in handy even when you’re not intoxicated. Turn it on before you venture out for the day, enabling your friends to locate you easily should you decide to explore solo for a while.

9. Embrace Minimalism with Electronics

Resist the temptation to carry every camera attachment and gadget available, as less is more when it comes to tech-savvy travel. Your laptop won’t be a constant companion during your journey, and your large digital camera need not accompany you on every expedition. Nowadays, your smartphone can capture high-quality photos and handle essential tasks such as emails when needed.

Carrying multiple gadgets only adds unnecessary weight and makes you more susceptible to theft. Store your gadgets, excluding your phone (of course), securely in your hotel room’s valuables safe, or better yet, consider leaving them behind altogether during your vacation.

10. Stay Connected with a Phone and Local SIM Cards

Having a phone with data at your disposal allows you to access directions on the go, make reservations, and contact emergency services if the need arises. While free Wi-Fi is becoming ubiquitous, investing in a local SIM card for internet access proves invaluable, especially during unforeseen circumstances.

Services like T-Mobile and Google Fi offer reliable data plans for travelers from the United States, ensuring seamless connectivity. Additionally, having a phone fosters easier communication and connection with fellow travelers you meet on your journey.

11. Keep some cash

It’s advisable to have some US dollars in cash, especially when traveling to smaller countries. Sometimes, forex shops may not be trustworthy, and your credit card may not always work. From personal experience, it is best to carry USD bills in denominations of 10, 20, and 50 when traveling from India. Be cautious with 100-dollar bills as they might raise suspicion.

I have encountered instances of receiving counterfeit currency from authorized exchange counters in China and Guatemala, with China being particularly notorious for such incidents.

12. Stay hydrated

Staying hydrated during long flights is crucial. The Aerospace Medical Association recommends drinking 250ml of water per hour of flight. Thus, a flight from India to Europe would require around 2 liters of water. Carry your own water bottle after passing through security, as most airlines do not provide sufficient water to passengers. Be cautious with alcohol consumption, as it can dehydrate the body, especially at the altitude maintained in the cabin, which is around 8000 feet.

13. Ensure your devices

Ensure your devices are fully charged before the flight, as many airline seats now come equipped with sockets for charging. However, be prepared for the possibility of limited charging points at airports.

14. Travel Light, Travel Smart

Unless you are venturing into frigid terrains, a 40-liter bag should suffice for your travel essentials. Opting for such a manageable size not only lightens your load but also reduces the cumbersome nature of your belongings. Moreover, it enables you to utilize it as a carry-on, a valuable convenience during international flights, sparing you the unnecessary headaches that can accompany excessive luggage.

Travel as lightly as possible and pack toiletries in your cabin bag. For trips up to a week, I personally prefer using only a cabin bag to avoid waiting for checked baggage at airports like those in the US, France, or New Delhi’s T3 terminal.

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15. Mind the Distractions: Be Wary of Pickpockets

In the bustling tourist hotspots, pickpockets lurk in the shadows, waiting for their chance to strike. Innocent-looking individuals, often disguised as ladies or children, may approach you with seemingly harmless signs or pieces of paper. However, don’t be fooled by their facade. This clever ruse is designed to catch you off guard and swiftly snatch your wallet away.

To safeguard yourself, remain vigilant and impervious to these sly tricks. Keep your cherished belongings close to your person at all times, thwarting any potential attempts at theft with your prudence.

16. Prioritizing Your Well-being

Even the tiniest insect bites or superficial scratches can morph into sources of discomfort and health woes, especially during foreign travels. Tend to these seemingly minor wounds with promptness and diligence to avert any complications that might arise.

Remember that travel and health insurance policies often exclude coverage for medical expenses outside the United States. While reimbursement may come later, it is wise to be prepared to shoulder any potential hospital costs directly.

17. Navigating Your Finances with Care

Maintain a prudent amount of cash on hand and secure duplicates of your credit cards, capturing both the fronts and backs (as well as your passports or IDs). Additionally, keep your financial institution informed about your travel plans to prevent any untimely freezing of your cards during critical moments.

18. Differentiate your bags

To easily identify your checked bag, customize it by tying a colorful bow to one of the handles. This simple act can prevent mix-ups and the inconvenience of someone else picking up your identical-looking bag, as I once experienced at Singapore’s Changi Airport.

19. Arrive early

Arriving at the airport early can save you a great deal of anguish. For layovers, aim for a minimum of 2 hours, and preferably 3 hours, especially if you are transiting through large hubs, where navigating from one gate to another may take considerable time.

Final thought

Flying for the first time is a rhapsody of unforgettable moments, a gateway to a realm of boundless possibilities and delightful discoveries. It inaugurates a new chapter in your life, where the skies become your vast canvas, and the world transforms into a playground of adventure. Embrace the magic of flight, for it will eternally hold a cherished place in your heart, an indelible memory of the moment you took flight, soaring beyond the horizons of ordinary existence.

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19 Practical Travel Tips for Flying Internationally: A Guide

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